Judge orders Arizona auditors to preserve records for public

A judge has ordered the company in charge of the controversial audit of the 2020 election in Maricopa County, Arizona to preserve all records of their efforts for the public to see. 

In a win for the Arizona Republic newspaper, which filed the lawsuit, the Cyber Ninjas firm must release emails and other communications belonging to its team by Aug. 31.

“Secure, protect, and preserve”

Many in the mainstream media have covered the audit and the Cyber Ninjas team conducting it with overt hostility, calling it a partisan exercise by unqualified fraudsters and conspiracy theorists seeking to sow doubts about President Joe Biden’s legitimacy with the so-called “big lie.”

Cyber Ninjas is facing separate lawsuits from the Arizona Republic and American Oversight, a partisan activist group founded by former Hillary Clinton campaign staffers and Obama administration officials to investigate President Donald Trump.

At the crux of the case is Cyber Ninjas’ status as government contractors. According to the Arizona Republic, the auditors argue that they are not required under public records laws to release information including their emails and other communications relating to the audit, which they are conducting on behalf of the Arizona Senate.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah disagreed and ordered Cyber Ninjas to maintain all records for public release.

“All defendants, including Cyber Ninjas, are ordered to carefully secure, protect and preserve from deterioration, mutilation, loss or destruction any and all records in their custody” that are “necessary or appropriate to maintain an accurate knowledge of their official activities” in the audit, he said, as the Republic reported.

Attacks on auditors precede report

Hannah’s order means that Cyber Ninjas has lost both cases and must surrender the records by Aug. 31, although the matter has yet to be fully resolved by the Supreme Court, which issued a hold on the records release.

The court decisions come as attacks on Cyber Ninjas have ramped up ahead of the release of their report, which is expected soon. Critics are vehemently dismissing their findings, but Arizona Senate president Karen Fann says the response is telling.

“Once again, this shows they are concerned about what might be revealed on the report, and they are trying to preemptively set the stage to justify any wrongdoings the report might show,” she said, according to AZFamily.

Maricopa County has opposed the audit from the beginning, claiming their own audits, which found no problems, were the last word, a line often repeated by the national press.

For their part, Cyber Ninjas and Republican officials have complained of obstruction from Maricopa County and other groups.

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